Texas Tech opened up as a two-point underdog on the road against the Kansas Jayhawks—and that is very good news for the Red Raiders.
If you have followed Tech in the past, you might know they have been accused by coach Mike Leach of reading into their positive press clippings at times. Being a top 10 team and picked to lose on the road should keep them grounded, along with redshirt freshman Baron Batch.
Now, I'm not going to argue that they should be favored to win the game. Kansas is riding a 13-game home winning streak. Sure, none of the teams they played are very impressive, but they have won when they were supposed to—much like Tech's team this year.
Tech has done the same this year. They have beaten the teams they were supposed to. In the past, Tech would have slipped up against Nevada, Nebraska, or Texas A&M. This year, every time they have needed a play, they have come up with it. They are going to need to make several good plays on both sides of the ball to go into the Texas game at 8-0.
Under Mark Mangino, Kansas football matters. He has a very good quarterback in Todd Reesing. They have skill at the wide receiver position. The defense isn't perfect, but there is enough talent to make plays.
All Tech really has to do is see how Kansas hung in with Oklahoma on the road last weekend. Reesing was under a lot of pressure, but he moves well and was able to keep drives alive with his feet. He has two very good receivers in Kerry Meier and Dezmon Briscoe.
The difference in the game will occur with the defenses. Tech has shown much improvement, although there is still far to go to be a dominating defense. Still, they have greatly improved the defensive line in talent and depth. This is where the biggest difference between the two teams lies.
The Kansas D-line doesn't do a good job of putting pressure on the QB. If they have to rely on the blitz to get to Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell, it will be bad news. Harrell has only been sacked once this season. Yes, the Red Raiders know how to protect a quarterback.
Tech's front four has been getting to the quarterback on their own. With Kansas giving up an average of three sacks a game in conference, look for McKinner Dixon and company to have a fun day in the Kansas backfield.
Neither team has a fantastic secondary. The difference is Tech is able to get a pass rush, so they tend to have to cover for less time. Kansas has done a good job of picking off errant passes, but Harrell doesn't throw very many of those.
This game will be close. I look for Texas Tech to do a better job of making defensive stops. This will be the difference in the game.
Tech can't turn the ball over like they did against Texas A&M. If they hold onto the ball, they will score often. Kansas will keep it close, but I believe Tech pulls out a tough road win, 40-30.
If I'm wrong and Tech is looking past Kansas, well, the game won't be pretty for Red Raider fans.
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